Toronto organizations teach life skills and make buildings more accessible

TORONTO – Two Toronto organizations have teamed up to teach job skills and make buildings in the city more accessible.

Dixon Hall’s Mill Centre is a training facility that helps people gain meaningful employment.

“We use carpentry as a vehicle to teach employability skills and life skills so people have the capacity to successfully re-engage with the job markets and be successful in their future endeavours,” said Steven Johnston, Director of Development, Dixon Hall Mill Centre.

Dixon Hall’s Mill Centre has teamed up with StopGap, “to raise awareness about physical barriers in our built environment,” said Luke Anderson, Co-Founder of StopGap.

Anderson, is a structural engineer who sustained a spinal cord injury over ten years ago as a result of a mountain bike crash.

The StopGap community ramp project builds ramps for businesses with single step storefronts to make them more accessible. This joint partnership also allows youth to learn both the trade of carpentry, as well as employability and life skills.

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“Partnering with StopGap gave us an amazing product that we can build, it’s easy to build, it’s simple, and it suits the abilities of first time carpenters,” said Johnston.

A graduate from the Mill Centre, Jesse Darby, says that the skills he learned has transformed his life.

“It’s given me inspiration of being able to have the confidence of going out and doing my own projects and starting my own company,” said Darby.

Johnston believes that Dixon Hall’s Mill Centre in partnership with StopGap is rebuilding lives through this program, “self-confidence is fifty-percent of what we build here when we re-build lives…When you can establish yourself in the trades you can establish a career for life!”

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